22 October 2004

My fairy child~laughter, love, and leaving

As our schoolyear drew to a close, I found myself worrying which 3rd grade teacher would get my fairy child. Would she understand him, love him, and accept the ways that set him apart from other children? Would he be allowed to ask the jillion questions he was capable of wondering? Would she guide him gently into the world of responsiblility and maturity? Would she take the time to laugh and enjoy life with him?
But who was I really worried about? Was it Evan? Or was it me?
Who would understand me? Love and accept my ways with unconditional love? Who would take the time to laugh and enjoy life with me? With Evan gone, who would I have within this classroom I call home for 185 days a year 9 hours a day?
"Mrs. Hood?"
"Yes, Evan?"
"Next year I won't be in your room, will I?"
"No, sweetheart, you won't."
"Will you go to third grade and be my teacher?"
"I can't do that, Evan. I have to stay here."

"Well, you know what?"
"What, my Evan?"
"Every morning I'm going to sneak down here before school and give you a hug. Will that be okay?"

"I'd like that a lot, Evan."
"You know what, Mrs. Hood? I'm never going to forget you. Not even when you're old and wrinkled, and I'm big and have a job."
And then I know it'll be okay. Because no matter where I go or what I do or what tomorrow may bring, for this particular moment in time I have the love of this small child. And I will always have the memories he created for me. For us.
Thank you, my fairy child. Thank you for touching my life in your very special way. I will never forget you. I will always love you. And you will forever have a part of my heart.

Come back in awhile~a few days perhaps, and I'll update you on Evan, my forever fairy child~but until then, may the sun shine warmly upon your face and the rain softly upon your soul~

19 October 2004

My fairy child~pizza and laughter

I had to carefully screen what Evan said, during any time together. One morning, during a Reading lesson, I tried to prevent him from telling us how pizza affected his mother's intestines.
"Mrs. Hood, do you like pizza?"
"I do, but sometimes it makes me burp."
"Me, too! But you know what it does to my mom?"
"Does it make her burp, too?"
"No, ma'am. It makes her po-" as I slap my hand over his mouth. Too late. Someone has already figured it out and now I have 21 little people rolling on the floor around my chair. Evan's wide eyes are looking at me over my hand, which is pressed tightly below his nose!
"Evan Pickler, I am going to remove my hand and you are NOT to repeat that word. Do you understand?"
"Yishmi'im," he garbled out beneath my fingers.
"I'm serious, Evan. Don't say it."
Removing my hand, I looked at him and cautioned him with my eyes.
With all the seriousness of a politician, he said, "I promise, Mrs. Hood, I won't say poot anymore."
Closing my eyes, I listen as my classroom erupts once more in giggles and laughter.
And Evan just sits there quietly at my knees, with dancing eyes - knowing exactly what he's done. And I wonder, once more, what it's like to live with him 24 hours a day.

15 October 2004

My fairy child~his classroom angels

It can make one sad for our children that they have to grow up to be adults, because with that stage comes fear and doubt and hurt. We lose that innocence and trust, the idea that others will help us because we would have helped them. To love without being loved is something certainly common to a child and very rare with us older beings.
I was always reminded that I was one of those 'older' ones when I got on my knees at the end of each classday to clean up Evan's desk area. It never ceased to amaze me how much paper, color crayons, broken pencils, and just 'stuff!' he could accumulate in a days time. And it only took part of the next morning for it to get right back to where it had been the previous day!
I fussed, threatened, bribed - most anything - to try and have him keep some semblance of order. Then I began to notice he was sitting in a state of organization - and this began to happen on a regular basis. I didn't think I had succeeded in my pleadings, but neither did Evan seem to be putting forth any extra effort.
I did notice, however, that he seemed to have more company around his floor area. It was quiet, and there would be no playing, but someone was always there - on the floor. And on their knees. Scurrying around like squirrels, picking up things and crawling to our trashcan.
So now Evan had help. Upon questioning one of the helpers, I found that they didn't want me fussing at him, so they had individually decided to help. Each one pitching in to aid a friend. What wonderful little people we have. What loving angels in small bodies~
And until another time, may you find time to look for the angels in your life. Here's wishing you many moments of love and laughter~

07 October 2004

My fairy child~his rock of gold, his heart of gold

I watch him as he works at his desk during our center time. He becomes so engrossed in whatever has captured his attention that time seems to fade and he leaves us for a little while. It may be a picture book or an encyclopedia filled with wonderous photographs or his library book, but it is a flight into another realm of his world. He sits quietly without speaking and hunches close to the book. I study him at times. This little elfin figure that has filled my working days with wonder. So serious. So small.
What is it about him that captures my attention, that makes me seek him out many times during our day together? Is it to see what comical mischief he's into, or to check and make sure he's as happy as we are when we're around him? Is it a more selfish motive? To be noticed by Evan is to be reassured that you matter, that you are special. Whatever the reason, I find myself glancing his way often, looking for him in the room, even looking to see where he's positioned himself at our lunch table.
The lunch room. Another place to yet watch him at work.
Our school hires part-time workers to work certain areas of our campus. One such place is the lunchroom. One day there was a gentleman working the area where plates are emptied. It was the same day Evan slipped his 'gold' rock into his pocket-for safety reasons he told me later.
Unknownst to me, another student had playfully hidden this 'treasure' that Evan had set on his lunch plate. So naturally, when we line up he realizes he must have thrown his rock in the trash along with his food. Knowing he wasn't supposed to have it in the lunchroom in the first place, he decided to handle it on his own.
We're busy working on a math lesson when this gentleman comes to my door.
"Mrs. Hood? Would you tell Evan Pickler that I couldn't find his valuable stone. Ma'am, I looked real good."
"I'm sorry," I replied with what I'm sure is a confused look. "I don't know what you're talking about."
"Well, he came up and told me he'd dropped a gold nugget into the trashcan and asked me to find it and return it to him. Said he'd be in your room."
Apparently, this man had donned gloves and gone through a fifty-five gallon trashbin of food scraps looking for a rock that was at the moment sitting on Evan's desk, having been returned during our walk back across campus.
"Evan Mark Pickler, Junior come here now."
With a look of 'Oh no, think quick!' he managed to say, "Mrs. Hood, wasn't he nice to look for my gold rock for me?"
"Evan, whatever possessed you to ask this man to do that?"
With a serious, and surprised, expression on his face, Evan answered, "Well ... I needed help and I would've helped him."
And Evan would have. Without any hesitation. Or permission!
~until another day and another time may your days be filled with wonderous moments~

03 October 2004

A week of rest?

Our county is out of school this week for Fall Break. It is suuuuuch a nice feeling to know that this week I can have my coffee and read the Advertiser at my leisure. I do hope my students enjoy their time away as much as I intend to. The weather is gorgeous, although not as cold as I'd like, and the colors of fall are everywhere. John and I are definitely cold weather people. I lived in Aurora, Colorado once and have wished many times that I could have stayed there. The scenery, the climate, the snow! Maybe one day the mountains will once again be within the view of my kitchen sink, or back porch~Until another time, look for the love and laughter in your life.

01 October 2004

My fairy child~I love you, Frankie

Evan loved life, and he loved us. He took special interest in everything. He made no enemies, because he could always find something nice to say about all of us. There were times when he would hunger for someone to say something nice about him, and it was at those times that I found it hard to separate him from my leg.
Evan not only needed to love, but he needed to be loved. Above all, to know that he was loved. It did not, however, dim his enthusiasm for someone to brush him off. If anything, it served only to make him try harder to love that person.
As free and open as he was with his love, and belongings, no one in our class ever (to my knowledge) took advantage of him. It was as if they recognized his innocence and wanted to protect it.
"Hey, Frankie. You know what?"
"What, Evan? Why do you always say 'You know what'?"
"Because I'm asking you something. People say that when they ask a question. Don't they say that, Frankie?"
"I guess so, Evan. What'd you want?"
"I love you, Frankie."
"I love you too, Evan, but you didn't ask me anything."
"Well, that's okay, isn't it?"
As Frankie stands there looking totally confused, Evan Mark Pickler Jr. grins as he hugs Friankie tight, turns and skips off. Our Evan.

27 September 2004

My fairy child~the field trip

Once on a field trip to Montgomery he asked if we could share a seat. Anxious for a smile or two, I agreed. After several miles of chitchat and hugs he pulled my face real close to his and looking deep into my eyes, he just stared for a long time.
"I love you so much, Mrs. Hood."
"Oh, Evan. I needed to hear someone say that today. Thank you."
"Do you know what else, Mrs. Hood?"
"What, Evan?"
Reaching out to lightly touch the lines on the sides of my eyes, the very lines that just that morning had made me feel old, real old, he brought his nose to mine and said, "I love these lines beside your eyes. I only see them when you smile. Did you know that?"
"No, Evan, I didn't."
And that literally made my day.
How many times do we get so wrapped up in trying to make a living, provide a home and all the other zillion things that cause us to rush through life, that we overlook the little things that come our way every day? Little things that maybe no one has told us in a long time, or, maybe we just never took the time to see. Little things, little people like Evan. My fairy child.

25 September 2004

My fairy child~His name was ...

His name was Evan Mark Pickler, Jr., and he was as short as his name was long. Large brown eyes in a small tiny face. I called him my fairy child, and he enchanted me from the very first day.
Evan loved to maintain a serious expression. There was, however, a perpetual grin behind the eyes. It was difficult to stay somber, and very easy to smile, when he was near.
Having a discussion with him was an experience all in its' own. I never knew where it might lead.
"Mrs. Hood, is this good writing?"
"Well, Evan, it's better."
"But it's good, right?"
"I can't say that, Evan. Compared to what you have been turning in, yes it's good, but it's not the best you can do. Right?"
"No, ma'am, but it's good for today, isn't it?"
"Mrs. Hood?"
"What, Evan?"
"Do you like the name Pickler?"
"Yes, I do."
"Some people laugh at my last name. Does it make you feel like laughing?"
"No, darling," I reply smiling. "I think it's a good last name."
"Well, it makes me think of pickles. I wish I had one right now. Do you like pickles, Mrs. Hood?"
I never knew once we started where we were going to end up. It was that way with him. With Evan. My fairy child.

20 September 2004

Reality begins once more~

Monday evening and I've just received the call saying "School will be open tomorrow". So - we're back into the realm of reality and life goes on. The cleanup is still continuing here in our neighborhood and the piles of debris grow larger each day. I didn't realize that so many of our people here lost such a vast number of trees and shrubbery. Or, maybe they're taking the time now to clean out what has been needing cleaning out! Don't we all have some of that in our lives!

I, for one, took the time while without power to clean out several closets and cabinets. It gave a sense of accomplishment to my being and I found myself walking around with my shoulders held a bit higher. (Strange how simple things can make one feel better! Or maybe it just doesn't take much to make some people happy.)

Mentioning happiness, a picture brought smiles to my face and a catch to my heart today. Our daughter sent a shot of our grandson this morning. Each time I hold him I'm reminded of how she felt at that age, and how he carries so many tiny parts of loved ones that have gone on before us. He's a small part of my parents, my beloved grandparents and so many others that are captured now only in faded pictures. I like to think he's captured the best of all of us - and I find myself wanting to be only the best for him. I wrote a poem for our daughter once - Jenny in the Morning. Maybe I'll post it and just maybe, someone, somewhere will know the feelings it invokes. Time. It goes much too fast and is such a precious commodity. So, again - until another time, may you find many moments of love and laughter~

19 September 2004

Ivan roared in and blew past~

It's Sunday afternoon and I'm listening to Johnny pressure wash the patio floor. As we had to remove all the furniture and plants, he's taking the time now to clean the floor. We'll paint it next weekend and once more set out the wicker and greenery. I'll get a swing up now! I do so love fall and winter and look forward to many hours on the patio and deck with good books, magazines and the swing~

We were blessed to have our power back on the same day we lost it. I didn't miss it really, catching up on sleep and magazines that had not been read. We got to have Jenny, Brandon, and Ian as house guests! and spent lots of time laughing with our grandson and playing on the floor.

Just heard from a fellow teacher that we will not have school Monday so I have a whole day to finish painting the hall bath. I'm putting a faux finish on the dressing and bathing areas that mimic the Tuscany style. It's coming along better than I'd expected and am anxious now to have it finished and completed. Johnny is a patient man, as I seem to redo another room as soon as I finish one. It would be hard to choose a favorite in our home - but just maybe, it's the 'New Orleans' bedroom that Brandon and Jenny used when they were here. Or maybe our dining room, with the aged paper and writings; or maybe, the way our bedroom wraps me up in its cocoon colors of browns and beige; or maybe it's . . . . .

15 September 2004

Awaiting the Storm

Ivan ~ the storm approaching our homes and bringing the threat of destruction and fear. Strangely, I'm not worried. For years now, I've enjoyed the power of storms and the energy they bring with them. Johnny, on the other hand, is highly respectful of all weather and cannot understand why anyone would want to stand outside and look for the tornado that has set off the alarms. Storm energy heightens the senses and changes the very air we breathe. Here's to those of us that love the power of Nature in all its raging beauty and strength ~ may it leave my power on and my showers HOT! Until another time, may your days be filled with many moments of love and laughter~